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Work your Butt without Swelling your Legs and Thighs

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If you have read any of my fitness books you now by now that I am not a fan of squats (especially weighted squats!). Before you assume I hate squats because I can’t do them or because they are too difficult – that is not the case.

When I first began my work out journey squats were the go to exercise of all the work out videos / classes (and judging by what I see today, they still are). I did squats almost every day and suffered for it. Thank god the things we do to our bodies are reversible.

Sure, squats can help you get a nice round lifted butt, but side effects include enlarged *some might say bulky* quadriceps and hamstrings. Yup, you heard me right. Doing a crapload of squats as pushed in those 30 day squat challenges will leave you with bulging thighs. Take a good look at the picture up above to see what muscles are being activated when you do squats.

Surely, you are familiar with convex shaped thighs – you know those flared legs with the tear drop that all the male body builders are after? Here’s a visual for you. This is the result of heavy squats and leg presses. Looks good on men, but most women wouldn’t want to adopt this look for themselves.

Now, before the lift heavy proponents invade this space talking about how women don’t have enough testosterone to produce this level of muscle and that squats won’t get you here as a woman unless you are taking steroids – take note that even a toned down version of convex shaped legs are undesirable and unattractive to some women.

This is what women are referring to when they say they don’t want bulky legs. If you are very very lean (have very low body fat) doing ten thousands squats will still give your legs this shape but they probably won’t look as bulky, but if you carry any fat in your legs, as most women do *pear shaped ladies, stand up*, then things end up looking a lot harder than most women would like.

So, what’s a girl with a flat bum to do if she doesn’t want to end up with a nice round peach with a huge side of convex thighs?

Easy – ditch the squats and adopt these other great exercises that will work the buttocks while leaving the quads and hamstrings alone.

Other Exercises Besides Squats the work the Butt:

Plies – If you find yourself in a workout class that calls for copious amounts of squats just substitute it with a plie instead and you won’t look too out of place. If the instructor comes over and tries to correct your form by telling you to sit back or turn your toes in, just tell her you did squats yesterday and are modifying to give those muscles a rest.

Deadlifts

Toe Taps

clamshells

Glute bridge

Reverse lunge

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Reader Asks: Will Squats Make My Legs Bigger?

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In this week’s mail I got a question from a reader asking me if doing the 100 squat challenge would make her thighs slimmer.

What is the 100 squat challenge? On the first day of the challenge you are expected to do fifty squats, which builds up to 250 squats in 30 days.

Apparently a bunch of people have been promoting the 100 squat challenge, in which you do 100 squats a day. Many are jumping not he bandwagon hoping to get one set of results and sadly disappointed when they get the complete opposite.

Sadly, many women are taking the challenge in hopes of slimming and thinning the inner and outer thighs or to reveal a thigh gap.

I’ll give it to you straight. Squats are an excellent form of exercise for burning calories because it uses one of the biggest muscle groups in your body.

However, squats will lift your buttocks (which is good) AND subsequently firm your legs and build up/increase the width of your quadriceps (not good for those who are relatively lean and wanting to lose inches from the thigh).

Squats, especially weighted squats with a lot of reps like the 100 squat challenge, won’t necessarily make your legs ‘bigger’ but it will make them look more muscular and masculine as opposed to skinny and feminine. Your quads will probably look more dominant and harder than you want them to. Also, doing so many squats will cause the muscles in your legs to retain water giving it a swollen look that most women do not find appealing.

Look at the picture to the left. If you’re going for the before look, then clearly squats are not for you!

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